Rowland listed a number of risk factors that can help identify a patient who may cope poorly with cancer. The same risk factors may apply to other serious illnesses. The author is from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University in New York City.


(1) social isolation (with limited social support)

(2) multiple obligations and responsibilities (stressors)

(3) low socioeconomic status

(4) pessimistic outlook on life (philosophy)

(5) inflexibility and rigidity

(6) recent personal losses

(7) alcohol or drug abuse

(8) past or current psychiatric problems


A person with one or more of these risk factors should be monitored for how they are coping with their illness and therapy.

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